April employment data confirm trend in favor of job creation

April data on the number of hirings and layoffs registered electronically at the Labor Ministry point to a significant tipping of the balance in favor of new jobs in the Greek market, likely affected by seasonal factors.

The ministry’s Ergani database, which monitors employment in the private sector on a daily basis, showed a net increase in the number of jobs of 29,298 – this being the number by which new hires exceeded dismissals last month. In the same month last year the net result was also positive, but at least 50 percent smaller, with the creation of just 14,435 new jobs.

Although the signs are encouraging, the ministry urges caution against overoptimism, saying that changes in the way the figures are collected could lead to distortions. “Comparative figures with previous years should be viewed in a reserved fashion as the data was collected manually until February 2013,” it stated yesterday.

In April this year 89,779 hirings were announced, along with 18,078 layoffs, while 20,843 contracts expired and there were 21,560 voluntary exits. The net result of +29,298 is more than three times as high as that of March 2013 (+8,950), the first month that the electronic monitoring system went into operation. This uptake is attributed to expectations of significantly higher tourism traffic in Greece this year, as there will be an increased need for employees in the service sector.

In this year’s January-April period the net result is in favor of hirings by 20,460, against a result in favor of layoffs by 32,691 during the same period of 2012.

Meanwhile a survey conducted by Hay Group’s Greek branch of 126 Athens enterprises in February showed that the share of companies planning to let staff go this year is far smaller than last year, as just 29 percent intend to cut their employee numbers against 52 percent in 2012.

Most of the firms (67 percent) that participated in the survey said they do not intend to substitute layoffs with more flexible forms of labor, but, interestingly, while 38 percent of companies have decided to cut salaries, one in six (16.5 percent) has planned for salary raises this year.